PRESSURE will be on Sydney University’s crew in the Stack’s Finance-Croker Oars Manning Mixed Eight Challenge tomorrow, the blue ribbon event in Manning Rowing Club’s Taree Summer Regatta.
Fifteen crews will face the starter at 12.35 near the Martin Bridge and head to the rowing club. Sydney Uni has the best crew in the race, according to Manning River Rowing Club’s Hugh McLeod. However, it’s a handicap event and they’ll be the back markers on 18 seconds.
Handicaps are based on the individual rating of rowers in the crew.
“Sydney Uni will have a lot of work to do to catch the crews in front of them,’’ McLeod said.
Defending champions University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will be hard to beat, he added. A UTS crew produced an outstanding effort last January when starting the back marker. UTS rounded up the field at the mid-point of the 1000 metre challenge and there was clear water between them and second placed Nepean at the finish. UTS will be chasing a third consecutive win tomorrow. There’ll be two UTS crews in the field.
The successful crew will pocket $1500 and a $1000 voucher from Croker Oars.
Manning won’t be starting in the mixed eight.
“The club’s in a transitional stage,’’ McLeod explained.
“We have a lot of new rowers and the people who competed last year have been heavily involved in coaching and not-so-much rowing. So we won’t have an eight this weekend, but hopefully we’ll be back in 2020.’’
The three day regatta starts today at 2pm. A total of 610 competitors will be involved, on par with recent years. Clubs from throughout the Sydney area, Newcastle, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Lower Clarence and Toowong in Brisbane will be represented. The Manning will have about 20 starters, with the strength being in Masters events where Graham Nix, Roy Halliday, John Cross, Dick Reddell and Phil Peade are expected to perform strongly.
“A few of our younger rowers will be having their first regatta experience,’’ McLeod added.
This includes Tara Copp, the club’s first para-rower. Tara will compete in the double sculls tomorrow and the single on Sunday. Racing will be underway from 7.45 on Saturday and Sunday.